Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:14 am
Scientists assembled by the United Nations sent out a renewed warning Friday that the planet is warming up and human beings are largely responsible. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report that projects more warming air, melting ice and rising seas in this century.
Iran's President Hasan Rouhani has been well-received in the U.S. this week with his United Nations speech and other remarks that held out the possibility of the U.S. and Iran mending relations ruptured more than 30 years ago.
As we've reported on Parallels, Rouhani still faces plenty of skeptics, though most U.S. media coverage has been positive. But how have his comments been received in Iran, where the country's economy has been hard-hit by Western sanctions?
Even as the potential government shutdown drama remains unresolved, House Republican leaders are moving on to the next deadline: the debt ceiling. Economists say defaulting on payments could be catastrophic, but many House Republicans believe the debt ceiling is the best place to take a stand. Some even say the risk of default really isn't all that bad.
A perfect storm of sorts is leading some Western energy companies to step back from investments and operations in the Middle East. Companies see increased risk in the region because of the turmoil and violence following the Arab Spring. And, advances in technology have made it easier to produce oil in North America.
An electric wire factory in western Georgia is staffed almost entirely by teenagers. They are there because of a partnership between a local company, Southwire, and the Carroll County school system. They teamed up six years ago to try to reduce the high school dropout rate.
Secretary of State Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France, Russia, China and the European Union met with Iran's foreign minister at the United Nations on Thursday. They left the meeting praising Iran's new tone, but saying there is a lot of work to be done in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program. The talks resume in Geneva in mid-October.
During an experiment, marketing professor Remi Trudel noticed a pattern in what his volunteers were recycling versus throwing in the garbage. He then went through his colleagues' trash and recycling bins at Boston University for more data.
He found the same pattern, says NPR's Shankar Vedantam: "Whole sheets of paper typically went in the recycling, but paper fragments went in the trash."
Same type of paper, different shapes, different bins.
Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.
But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she'd supported weren't working. Now she's a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she's particularly opposed to privatizing schools.
Josh Lampert started having psychotic episodes in college, when he was 19 and living in Seattle.
"My diagnosis was psychotic depression," he told his father, Chuck, during a visit to StoryCorps. "You can hallucinate sounds and smells and tastes. And my mistake was doing drugs, because sometimes the line got blurred of what is real and what isn't. Other people seemed like they had so much — social relationships and girlfriends, and I was just trying to function."
Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. The rollout is in the first of three phases, and ultimately, the goal is to distribute more than 600,000 devices.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:16 am
Is the National Security Agency collecting cellphone tracking information on millions of Americans?
After a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, we still can't be sure. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has been trying to get intelligence officials to confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of such a program.
Remember, records of where your cellphone is located give a pretty good idea of where the owners are. Wyden asked NSA Director Keith Alexander about that at Thursday's hearing, and Alexander said, no — not under "the current program."
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:55 pm
Thursday's highlights (and lowlights):
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raised the possibility that the Senate might be able to finish its work on the budget bill by the end of the day, sending it to the House sooner rather later. If Republicans went along, that would give the House more time to act to avert a government shutdown next week.
Perhaps predictably, Republicans didn't go along. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, in particular.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:32 am
Most fans of '60s soul know of Muscle Shoals, the tiny Alabama town that produced huge hits. But only the genre's most studious followers will be able to watch Muscle Shoals without being regularly astonished: Even if it sometimes gets lost in its byways, Greg "Freddy" Camalier's documentary tells an extraordinary story.
One thing you can say about the diminutive speckled sea louse: it's always on time.
Scientists studying the tiny crustacean, a marine cousin of the wood-louse, found that it runs not one, but two internal clocks. Not only does the creature have a circadian rhythm, or so called "body clock" like most land-dwelling animals, including humans, but it also has a circatidal clock that follows the 12.4-hour cycle of the tide.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 6:29 pm
Fast-food giant McDonald's has made a commitment to stop marketing sodas as a beverage option in kids' Happy Meals.
Instead, the chain has committed to market and promote only milk, water and juice with the children's meals.
Now, if parents order a Coke or Sprite with their child's Happy Meal, they won't be turned down. But sodas will no longer be marketed or promoted visually in any of McDonald's advertisements or in-store visuals.
Any day now, Fresno plans to raze a large homeless encampment that's grown up near downtown. The poor, farm-dependent city in California's Central Valley has one of the highest per capita homeless populations in the country.
In recent weeks, city officials there have dismantled three other sprawling shantytowns. The moves have displaced hundreds of people and sparked controversy.
Underneath Highway 180
Fresno is one of the poorest places in America. One in 4 people here live below the poverty line, and the recession only made things worse.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:10 pm
Is the GOP still the "party of business"?
With the party's long-standing and ongoing push for lower taxes and fewer regulations — both in Washington and in state legislatures — Republicans can reasonably make that claim.
Yet some of the congressional Republican rhetoric in the battle over a continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare makes it clear that there's a significant amount of tension between the party and the business community.
Much of the strong language comes from the Tea Party and its friends on Capitol Hill.
An online collection has raised more than $145,000 for a man who stumbled onto a pile of money and turned it over to police.
Glen James' story of a good deed is just one of many making headlines. It may not be exactly brand new, but public interest does seem to be piqued these days by ordinary folks making what are seen as extraordinary ethical decisions.
Some, however, question if airing this kind of "good" news is actually good.
As Republicans try to figure out how to defund President Obama's health care law, some members of the party are attacking Obamacare on other fronts, too.
One House committee is investigating groups that were contracted to educate people about how to enroll, and the tactics are slowing down preparation for the rollout of the health care exchanges scheduled next Tuesday.
Congress has been getting most of the attention during this latest round of budget brinksmanship. But some of the biggest players in the debate have been outside conservative groups with close ties to Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Perhaps the most influential voice is also a soft-spoken one. It belongs to former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the Heritage Foundation.
From talk of the House Republicans, now to a top Senate Democrat. Senator Patty Murray of Washington state is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference. Welcome to the program, Senator Murray.
SENATOR PATTY MURRAY: Well, very nice to talk to you.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
The clock is ticking towards a partial government shutdown, and congressional Republicans and Democrats are digging in their heels. In many ways, the House and Senate are no closer to a deal than they were three weeks ago when they returned from recess. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith explains.
President Obama declared today that his signature health care law is here to stay. That, despite efforts by Republicans in Congress to delay parts of the law or block them entirely. Next week, new online insurance markets will get up and running. And today, at a campaign-style rally outside Washington D.C., the president encouraged uninsured young people to sign up for coverage. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
Another round of talks on Iran's suspect nuclear program took place Thursday, this one at the United Nations and, for the first time, at the ministerial level. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran's new Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, will be among those in attendance along with their counterparts from the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. No breakthroughs are anticipated in New York but the talks are expected to reconvene a week or so later in Geneva in search of an accord.